CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - CMPD says murders have almost doubled in the Charlotte area compared to this same time last year. Three homicides in three days. That's a lot even for the Queen City.
"Clearly we've had more this year. We have 11 this year compared to 6 at this same time last year and 9 the year before," said Lt. Brad Koch.
The first case was Friday night on Wynbrook Way.
“When officers responded, they found two women shot. One was pronounced dead at the scene," said Lt. Bryan Crum with the CMPD Homicide Unit.
Police say the suspect - Naza James - targeted the car the two women were sitting in, but did not target 63-year-old Harriett Cromartie who was killed.
This, just the beginning of a violent weekend.
"About an hour after that, officers responded to Lawyers Road where they found one person shot outside a convenience store. The victim was transported to the hospital and died from his injuries. We haven't made an arrest in that case yet. We have some substantial leads and physical evidence we're working with our lab," said Crum.
The victim in that case was 22-year-old Christopher Moore. Then Sunday night, a third homicide.
"Third case occurred last night. Mallard Creek Road at a convenience store. Officers found 36-year-old Patrick Austin suffering from a gunshot wound. He passed away from his injuries as well," said Crum.
With more murders starting off the year, could it be a sign of a more violent year to come?
"In order to draw any correlation or extrapolate that out to the entire year is too early for that," said Koch.
But they do have some things in common. CMPD says a gun was involved in each of the 11 homicides this year. And as for the three murders this weekend, "In all these cases we believe they knew each other or had some contact prior to the incident," said Crum.
So far, one arrest has been made in one case from the weekend. The other two remain unsolved.
"Over 50 percent of our cases, we have either identified suspects or know where we're going in our investigations," said Koch.
A big part of closing the case, CMPD says, is having witnesses come forward.
"We're asking for the public's help. If you have information. We believe there are witnesses out there that we haven't spoken with. If you could come forward, contact Crimestoppers or the tip line. There's a reward for information that leads to an arrest," said Crum.